How do you listen to your favorite music on Apple Watch and what can you listen to? Well, that depends on your watch model.
With any Apple Watch and watchOS 4.1 or higher, you can listen to albums and playlists created on your iPhone, apps such as Pandora and iHeart Radio, and songs from Apple Music (assuming you're a subscriber).
With an Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4.1, you can do all that and listen to Apple Radio and your own music synced through iCloud. The difference between the Series 3 and its predecessors is that the Series 3 can stream music directly from the cloud, while the older watches can play music only by piggybacking onto your iPhone.
Let's look at the different ways to listen to music on your Apple Watch.
First, make sure you've updated your watch to watchOS 4.1 or higher. To check, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Tap on the General category and tap Software Update. The app will tell you that your software is up to date, or it will download the latest update.
2Pair Your Watch
Next, you'll need to pair your watch with Bluetooth earphones or a Bluetooth speaker. To do this, make sure your Bluetooth device is on and in pairing mode. On your Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown to segue to the Home screen, which displays your app icons. Tap Settings > Bluetooth. Your Bluetooth device should be listed and go into pairing mode. Tap the name of the device. The status then indicates that it's connected.
3Albums, Artists, Songs, and Playlists
With any Apple Watch, you can sync your albums and playlists with your watch. Create a playlist on your phone if you haven't already done so. Connect your watch to the charger and confirm that it's charging. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is turned on. Still on your iPhone, open the Watch app to the My Watch section. Tap on Music. At this screen, you can enable or disable the Heavy Rotation option to "automatically add playlists and albums you're listening to." Tap on Add Music. Select the albums and playlists you wish to hear on your watch. Wait (awhile) for the music to sync.
4On Your Watch
Segue to your watch. Press the Digital Crown to jump to the Home screen. Tap on the Music app. From there, you can flip through thumbnails of your various albums and playlists. Alternatively, tap on the entry for Library and tap on the entry for Playlists, Artists, Albums, or Songs. You can then swipe through the collections synced with your watch. Tap on an album, playlist, artist, or song you wish to hear. You can control your music from your watch by tapping on the Play/Pause button, jumping to the next track, or jumping to the previous track. You can also control the volume by turning the Digital Crown.
Download the Pandora app on your iPhone if you don't already have it. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and swipe down to the section for Available Apps. Tap on the Install button next to Pandora to install the app on your watch. You should then see the app listed in the section for "Installed on Apple Watch."
Fire up the Pandora app on your watch. The app displays any stations you've created. Swipe through the list to see each one. Tap on the More button to see more stations. Tap on a station you wish to hear. You can play or pause the current song, give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down, or skip to the next track. Swipe to the left to control the volume. Swipe to the right to return to the station list.
Download the iHeartRadio app to your phone and install it on your watch. Open the app on your watch. Tap on Player to play your current song. Tap on For You to find recently played items. Tap on Your Library to view any saved playlists. And tap on Podcasts to view your subscribed podcasts.
Download the TuneIn Radio app to your phone. Create an account for TuneIn if you don't already have one and set up some stations and podcasts. Install the app on your watch and launch it. The app displays your stations. Tap on a station to hear it. You can then play or pause the sound, rewind, fast forward, and control the volume. You can also control the volume by turning the Digital Crown.
Other audio apps you can install and listen to on your watch are Musicloud, Cloud Music, Deezer, and Music Player for YouTube (sorry, no Spotify or Google Play Music). There is a downside with certain third-party apps, however. Ones that are designed primarily for the iPhone are simply compatible with the Apple Watch and do not support Bluetooth speakers or headphones. Your only option in that case is to play the music through your iPhone (or connect your iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker as a pass-through to your watch). So you still need your iPhone handy to listen to music offered by such apps.
With an Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4.1 or higher installed, you can listen to stations from Apple Radio. From the Home Screen, tap on the icon for Apple Radio. Swipe through thumbnails for the different stations or tap on the Beats 1 radio station to hear the current live broadcast. You'll notice the Radio app has an entry for Stations. Yes, you can listen to different stations by genre, but you need an Apple Music subscription to do so, which brings us to the next option.
If you don't already have one, an Apple Music subscription will run you $9.99 a month for one person, $4.99 a month for a student, or $14.99 a month for a family of up to six people. You can sign up for Apple Music via your iOS device, a PC, or a Mac. Such a subscription gives owners of an Apple Watch Series 3 the ability to listen to any station through Apple Radio. Once your subscription is active, tap on the Apple Radio app. Swipe through the different featured stations or tap on the entry for Stations and select a Station you wish to hear. Again, control your music by pausing it, playing it, or jumping to the next track.
To play custom radio stations (here's how to create one) on Apple Radio, you'll need to enlist the aid of Siri. To play one on your Apple Watch Series 3, say: "Hey Siri play my [station name] radio station." Your watch then starts playing the station.
With your Apple Music subscription, you can ask Siri to play any song or album in Apple's vast universe. Think of a favorite song, not one already contained in one of your albums or playlists. Say: "Hey Siri, "Play [name of song]." As long as that song is in Apple Music, Siri should accommodate your request. The music player appears on your watch so you can pause, play, and control the volume of the song.
You can also play an album. Say: "Hey Siri play the album [name of album] by [name of artist]," and Siri grants your wish. Or play songs by a particular artist ("Hey Siri, play [name of artist] music") or music from a particular genre, such as jazz, classical, or rock ("Hey Siri, play [genre name]"). You can abort the playback by saying: "Hey Siri, stop music."
With an Apple Music subscription, you can opt to sync your music to iCloud and play any of your songs or albums on an Apple Watch Series 3 without having to sync them individually. To set this up, segue back to your iPhone. Open Settings > Music. Turn on the option for iCloud Music. You're asked if you want to keep your music or delete and replace it. Your best bet is to choose the option to Keep Music.
Alternatively, you can do this from iTunes. On a Windows PC or Mac, open iTunes and move to Preferences. In the General tab at the Preferences window, check the option for iCloud Music Library.
Open the Music app on your watch. Tap on one of the categories, such as Albums or Songs. Swipe through the list. You should see all your synced music. Tap on the song or album you want to hear.
15One Cool Thing
For more, check out the Apple Watch Series 3 on our daily Facebook Live show, One Cool Thing, as well as How to Organize Your Apple Watch Apps, How to Switch and Tweak Your Apple Watch Faces, and How to Monitor Your Heart Rate With the Apple Watch.